Pacific gull

Pacific Gull (Larus pacificus), Derwent River Estuary, Tasmania, Australia.
Image: JJ Harrison
Community type

Pelagic reef organisms, Tidal flats

Habitat type

Rocky reefs, kelp beds and inter-tidal zone, Saltmarsh and tidal flats

The Pacific gull is the largest gull in Tasmania, growing up to 65cm in length. It can be confused with the kelp gull, a similar sized and coloured bird which is more abundant, and often occurs in large flocks on wharves and tips around Hobart. The Pacific gull is distinguishable by its robust yellow beak with a red tip on both the top and bottom beak, and a black stripe on its tail feathers. These gulls look for food along the rocky coastline, beaches and in shallow water. They feed mainly on fish, crabs and molluscs. Pacific gulls are sometimes seen dropping crabs and molluscs onto rocks from the air to open their shells. Prime breeding sites are on the high points of islands or headlands, scraping holes in the ground or building nests from sticks, grass and seaweed. Females usually lay and hatch 2 or 3 brown eggs, while the male finds food and guards the nest.

Much of the text within the species area of our website was written by Veronica Thorpe, as part of the Derwent River Wildlife Guide (2000).

The DEP has developed a variety of classroom and outdoor activities focused around the key estuary habitats of tidal wetlands, salt marshes and rocky reefs. These include classroom materials, online resources, interpretive walks, games and sensory experiences.